The Uzbek authorities intend to conclude negotiations on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the near future, the press service for the Uzbek Investments and Foreign Trade Ministry said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Investments and Foreign Trade Minister Sardor Umurzakov spoke at the latest meeting of the working group on Uzbekistan joining the WTO, its fifth, in Geneva.
“The head of the Uzbek delegation confirmed firm determination to actively promote the process of the republic joining the WTO and concluding bilateral negotiations with all interested member states of the organization in the near future,” the press service said.
The working group has begun detailed discussion of the documents presented on Uzbekistan’s foreign trade conditions, including a fact-based digest, answers to the questions of member states, information on economic policy, measures implemented to privatize government assets, customs and tariff policy, state support for agriculture, and industrial subsidies, it said.
All 25 WTO member states speaking unanimously declared their full support for Uzbekistan’s entry into the organization, emphasizing that this will allow the republic to integrate into the multilateral trade system in full and give impetus for the further development of its trade-economic ties with all member countries.
“The results of the activities carried out by the interagency commission on work with the WTO within the framework of the process of Uzbekistan’s accession to the organization, including in the array of preparations for an expanded package of documents and bilateral talks on access to the country’s market, were given a positive assessment,” the press service said.
The Uzbek delegation is also holding a number of bilateral negotiations in Geneva on access to the goods and services market with the United States, the European Union, Canada, Brazil, Switzerland, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, and other key WTO member states.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky says that neither he nor Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba were invited to a meeting in Ankara on June 8, which will, in particular, consider the issue of Black Sea shipping and which will be attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs RF Sergey Lavrov.
“I was not invited. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has not been invited to date,” Zelensky said during a conversation with reporters on Monday, answering a related question.
According to him, he discussed with Turkish President Recemop Tayyip Erdogan, among others, the issue of mediation by the Turkish side in unblocking Ukrainian ports.
“For us, it is important that we are ready to produce grain… For us (important – IF) that there is a safe corridor of ships – that this or that fleet of this or that state will ensure the export of this grain to us. That’s all. And here we talked both with Britain and Turkey. Turkey is now finding a format to give us guarantees… I think because of this they are meeting with the Russians so that Russia will give Turkey guarantees that nothing will happen to their ships. I think so. But, however, the details of their meeting are unknown to me yet,” Zelensky said.
The President also said that negotiations on the export of grain are being held with the UN, as well as with the Baltic countries and Poland – on the export of some volume by rail, but this direction is not a priority due to the long delivery times. Through Odessa ports, according to him, Ukraine can export 10 million tons of grain monthly. “If now we have 22-25 million tons blocked there, but in the fall we may already have 75. What are we going to do? Therefore, we won’t be able to do without ports,” Zelensky stressed.
When asked under what conditions Ukraine can go for demining the coast of Odessa ports and who should be the guarantor for the Ukrainian side to do this, he replied: “I consider the strongest guarantee is our appropriate weapons that will be deployed in the region, the unblocking of another corridor to the port for the export of grain”.
“We are working on this with specific states, with specific anti-ship systems. We are working and are already getting a little, I can already state. I think this is the best guarantee,” Zelensky added.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba denied rumors that Germany and France are putting pressure on Ukraine to make concessions in negotiations with the Russian Federation.
“Those countries that you mentioned are our partners, they help us a lot, especially the UK, and we don’t feel any pressure in the negotiation process from their side, we feel support and we have very close interaction with these governments,” Kuleba said at the briefing in Warsaw on Friday.
So Kuleba responded to a journalist’s request to comment on media reports that France and Germany are putting pressure on Ukraine to make concessions to the Russian Federation in the negotiations.
The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that even before the start of the war, it was inappropriate to say that Ukraine could be put under pressure.
“We have shown in a number of situations that Ukraine does not succumb to any pressure, you can only speak with us on an equal footing and you can never speak down. And after 36 days of war, I assure you that no one in Europe or overseas will even dare to attack President Zelensky or to Ukraine for any reason,” Kuleba said.
The European Commission begins negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the Life for Climate and Environment Program, which will allow receiving EU support in restoring the ecosystem after the war waged against it by Russia.
“Today, the European Commission begins negotiations with Ukraine to offer the country the opportunity to join the Life for Climate and Environment Program,” European Commission spokesman Adalbert Janz said at a briefing on Thursday.
According to him, by joining the Life Program, Ukraine will benefit from European support in rebuilding its environment after the destruction caused by the Russian attack. In particular, we are talking about heavy pollution and damage caused to the ecosystem. “This will be useful in order to secure the long-term well-being of the country and its sustainability,” he stressed.
Negotiations with the Russian delegation in an online format will resume on April 1, said the head of the Ukrainian delegation at the talks with the Russian Federation, David Arakhamia.
“At the talks in Turkey, we also announced that a meeting of the leaders of the two states was now required. The Russian delegation replied that first we need to have a more coordinated draft treaty. In a week we will work out what depends on the participants in the negotiation process,” he wrote in his telegram channel.
At the same time, Akharamiya expressed the assumption that after that the presidents of the countries would meet. At the same time, according to him, Ukraine insists that such a meeting take place not on the territory of Russia or Belarus.
The head of the Ukrainian delegation at the talks with the Russian Federation, David Arakhamia, considers the role of the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in this process to be positive, since he initially acted as an “unofficial channel of communication.”
“In fact, to be honest, he plays a very positive role. But I don’t understand why he began to play a public role. Because from the very beginning he had such a role that in negotiations it is called back channel, that is, an additional communication channel, unofficial , which helps to say some complex things in normal human language, and not in diplomatic – what they cannot say officially. Then, thanks to the international press, this hidden channel became known to the whole world in fact. As far as I understand the position, it is no longer hidden and is no longer a back channel, but is another face in the negotiations,” he said in an interview on the air of the national telethon.
Arakhamia believes that Abramovich is trying to position himself as a neutral party in the negotiation process.
“Although we do not perceive it as a neutral side. But, we can say that it is, of course, more neutral than the official side of the negotiations,” the head of the Ukrainian delegation added.